The writer and poet Fiona Wright has won the Kibble award at the Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers, given every year to Australian women writers.
The Kibble Awards recognise Australian female writers who have published fiction or non-fiction classified as ‘life writing’. This includes novels, autobiographies, biographies, and any writing with a strong personal element. The awards were established by Nita Dobbie in honour of her pioneering aunt, Nita Kibble - the first female librarian of the State Library of New South Wales.
Wright was given the $30,000 (£17,306) prize for a collection of essays about anorexia, entitled Small Acts of Disappearance (Giramondo Publishing).
Judge professor Elizabeth Webby said: “With the skilful use of language seen in her prize-winning poetry, Wright writes frankly and movingly about a difficult and very personal subject. Unlike many memoirs of illness and recovery, hers is not a story of triumph over adversity. The essay form allows her to resist closure, while also providing insights into her reading, her travels and her interactions with others.”
Wright told Guardian Australia that while she has been thrilled with the book’s reception, she did not expect it.
“I think part of that is because I’m used to being a poet ... it’s an entirely different game,” she said. “But also to me it’s quite a strange book – it’s not narrative, it’s essays, it’s a difficult subject matter. I really thought it was going to fly under the radar. But I’m very pleased to be wrong.”
A $5,000 prize (£2,884), the Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author, was given to Lucy Treloar for Salt Creek.